Northeast Times

Feeling like the only person in America not on vacation

Yoo-hoo! Is any­body out there? Come out, come out, wherever you are!

I feel like the only per­son in Amer­ica who’s not on va­ca­tion. And it’s be­gin­ning to both­er me.

The streets of town are si­lent — day and night. Like lem­mings, my neigh­bors have fled to the sea.

The malls are deser­ted. Even the su­per­mar­ket is eer­ily empty. Doesn’t any­one eat in Au­gust?

For­get what T.S. Eli­ot said about April — Au­gust is the cruelest month for those of us who are left be­hind to cope with a world gone fish­ing. Every­one I know is at the shore. Or the moun­tains. Or “abroad,” as they like to say in those won­der­ful old movies.

When I call people I need to reach, sec­ret­ar­ies from tem­por­ary agen­cies an­swer in­dif­fer­ently to re­port that Ms. L. or Mr. H. is due back in Septem­ber. Lucky them.

Our plumb­er is in Cali­for­nia.

Our mail­man dropped off the last batch of bills in late Ju­ly and took off for Montreal.

The wiz­ard who is sup­posed to be fix­ing my watch bolted his door shut on Ju­ly 29, as­sum­ing that time it­self would wait for him, now that Au­gust was ar­riv­ing.

I find my­self cranky and mean-spir­ited be­cause man­kind is out to lunch, and I’m not. I know it’s Au­gust — I know that noth­ing much gets done in this eighth month of the year — but I want com­pany in my misery at be­ing left be­hind.

Each of our daugh­ters has some Au­gust va­ca­tion plans. Au­gust, they tell me, is a drag.   

My own sis­ter, the trait­or, went to Switzer­land, and now she’s off to the shore. Here’s a lady whose work sched­ule al­lows her oth­er va­ca­tion op­tions through the year, but you can bet Ruth­ie doesn’t pass up Au­gust as the time to desert her only sis­ter.

Mind you, I do have some Au­gust plans. On some of the dog days this month, I’ll be “va­ca­tion­ing” in our den, the coolest spot in the house.

Oth­er times, like it or not, my oas­is will be the kit­chen sink, where I seem to be forever catch­ing wa­ter­mel­on seeds be­fore they dis­ap­pear in­to our garbage dis­pos­al, which doesn’t, alas, ac­cept them.

High ex­cite­ment, no?

So for a little while, I’ll have to go on feel­ing like the kid who didn’t get picked for the team. Like lettuce left wilt­ing, like the last rose of sum­mer, I’ll stay “shoulder at the wheel” while the rest of the civ­il­ized world is on hol­i­day.

But on one of these days when you Au­gust va­ca­tion­ers come home to find your lawns scorched and your house-plants beg­ging for mercy, my hus­band and I will be wait­ing to greet you to share our small tri­umphs, too.

We got in­to the hot­test movie of the sum­mer without wait­ing in line.

Ditto for the res­taur­ant where Sat­urday night re­ser­va­tions are usu­ally re­quired weeks in ad­vance.

And at home, we’ve been gor­ging on Jer­sey to­ma­toes and corn, and un­speak­able quant­it­ies of mocha fudge ice cream.

Who­ever said an Au­gust stay-at-home va­ca­tion didn’t have its perks? ••

You can reach at pinegander@aol.com.

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